Mom’s Helper System

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Mothers of Preschoolers or MOPS for short. I really enjoyed it, and I would most definitely recommend this group to anyone with preschoolers!  I spoke about chores, and I must say, in the chore system area, I’ve pretty much tried everything.  But there are two systems that have really worked for my family.  So I thought I’d share them here with you.

Preschool-chore-charts-with-pictures-2

From Homeschool Creations

The first system is one I used when my kids were preschoolers. It’s from the website Homeschool Creations.  I really liked it because it was simple for me and fun for them, plus it gave the option of extra paid chores.  Click here for this system.

The second system is one I developed after my oldest came to me one day and said, “Mom, you never spend time with me.” After I got over the initial shock and rage of the comment (after all, I am a homeschooler…we spend every waking minute together for goodness sakes!), I evaluated our routine, and aside from school time, I really didn’t spend much extra time with them.  A big reason for this was simply that the work load of having a larger family was taking a lot of my time.  So, after some brainstorming, I figured out a system that would accomplish three things:

  1. To teach my kids to do everything needed to keep the house going
  2. To take some of the housework off me
  3. To spend quality time with each child while I’m getting a clean house

So here it is…the Mom’s Helper System. I simply put four hooks (one for each kid) on the closet door in our kitchen, and I hung the cards on the hooks.  Every day that we are home, I rotate the cards.  So, everyone gets to do every job.  I really like this system too, because if we are gone one day, it’s no big deal…I just rotate the next day.

Click here for the files:

Moms Helper Chore SystemMoms Helper Chore System vERTICAL

Moms Helper Chore System

My laundry helper helps wash, dry, fold and put away all the clothes for the day. My kitchen helper (this is the most coveted position available) helps me decide what to make, prepare the food for each meal, and clean up after each meal.  My Outdoor helper helps me keep the outside of the house clean by picking up trash, watering plants and putting up toys and bikes.  Sometimes, this person also gets to pick out the new wreath and put out new décor or plant flowers in the springtime.  The Bathroom helper gives all the surfaces a good wiping with a Clorox wipe, changes toilet paper, and cleans the toilet (as needed).  My kids are still young and not very confident with these “bigger” chores yet, so I at least supervise, but usually I’m right there with them helping.  That’s where the quality time comes in.  While we’re up to our elbows cleaning the toilet, I’m talking to them and finding out what’s going on in their world.

One of the great benefits, however, is that after just a few weeks, these jobs can be done by the kids themselves (for the most part), so if I get in a pinch, I can easily say, “Isaac, go start lunch for everyone.” He will know what to do, because he has plenty of experience now.

I’ve also included a Living Room card. This person could do the dusting or picking up of the living room area.  I’ve also included a Mom’s Helper and a blank card.  These can be used just about any way.  It’s up to you.  This has been a really easy system to keep going.  I know because if it’s not easy, I won’t do it!

I’m making these files available to you to download for free. I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

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It’s Just a Tongue Depressor

It was Just a Tongue Depressor

You might have thought he had a broken arm. If you were outside in the hallway of the doctor’s office today, you probably would have suspected a possible dislocated shoulder that they were trying to reset.  One thing is certain, you never would have guessed that it was a simple tongue depressor.

My adopted son, James, hates to hurt. Now, I think that’s true for everyone, but he really hates to hurt, and I know that, but he was sick and a doctor’s visit was a must.  I did everything right…

I prepped him…I told him before we left exactly what to expect. “The doctor will look in your ears, your nose, your mouth.  You might get a flu test, but probably not…etc, etc”.

But there’s one fundamental problem with that-he still doesn’t completely trust me. And he certainly doesn’t trust a doctor.  Honestly, I knew that there would be some hiccups in this trip.  James was really, really sick, but I never expected the hang up to be right out the shoot…on the “Open your mouth and say ahhhhh….” part.

But we’re talking about full blown panic mode. I mean, screaming, kicking, crying, over a tongue depressor.  Yeah, you would have thought we were torturing him.  I had to physically restrain him so the doctor could just get a quick peek down the windpipes.  It was at that point that I knew that taking James to the doctor rivaled taking my four-year-old Lydia to the doctor (one of the Winter Olympic Sports).

So when the doctor said that he was going to do an injection, my heart sunk like an anchor off the side of a cruise liner. Oh boy….

I did everything right….

I prepped him. I told him exactly what to expect.  We related this shot to the flu shot, which he said wasn’t bad at all.  Personally, I think a flu shot stings like crazy, so for a moment, a fleeting second, I figured that this might just be okay.  But then, I looked into his face, tears still streaming down his cheeks, a look of complete panic in his eyes, and I remembered, no, this child needs more healing than a family doctor can offer.  So I hunkered down, and made the decision that we’re going to get through this together.  We’re just going to survive.

The nurse came in, and we got him ready. I’ve seen him jittery, but this was a new level of panic for him.  He asked to hold my thumb, and I offered him that, and took his other hand in mine.  Even though I told him every single step, the alcohol swab alone was enough to send him into a fresh batch of tears.  The shot came and went, and for a split second, I thought it was over…maybe not as bad as I thought.  And then the wailing began.

I have no doubt that the shot hurt like blue blazes, but what followed was not the typical reaction of an eight-year-old. In fact, my toddlers handled antibiotic shots better, I thought.  But then, they knew that I would immediately grab them and give them the comfort they so desperately needed at that moment.  The crying then lasted for mere seconds.  James just doesn’t have that history.  He isn’t sure that I’ll be able to provide him comfort.  So when he hurts, no matter how big or how small, in his mind, he’s handling it alone, completely and utterly alone.  That’s why the smallest hurts hurt so bad.

The odd thing is that since he missed that toddler experience of being swooped up and comforted, he has to be dealt with completely differently. I can’t just swoop him up and it’s over.  No, because he’s expecting everyone in his life to hurt him, he goes straight to the fight or flight response.  So in these situations, he has to be talked down from the ledge.  I’m sure that I looked like an insensitive parent when I looked at him and firmly said, “James, stop.”  But the thing is that if I allow him to keep going, we will be completely out of control in a few seconds.  Once I interrupted the immediate shock, I start in gentle and firm, “James, it’s over.  It’s done, and you’re going to feel so much better. James, you’re okay!  Look, you made it through just fine.”  It’s a long process of talking him off the ledge.  Over the course of the afternoon, we ordered a milkshake, talked about the doctor and how he wants to help us, how our doctor can be trusted to do the right thing to make us well.  We even talked about the best way to take a shot.  It’s been a long day.  In fact, he was still talking about his shot tonight when I put him to bed.  Because the truth is, it was traumatic for him.  Not just the normal traumatic doctor visit that every kid (and adult) makes from time to time, but worse.  Exponentially multiplied by the past.

Teaching Your Adopted Child to Trust Again

We have to teach them that fear is not a wall that stops us…it’s a wall that we climb. We have to equip our kids with the footholds they need to climb those walls.

And here’s where I have a choice….I could simply say, “Well, I tried. I guess this is just what it is to go to the doctor with him.”  But I won’t.  Because that does him a disservice. I want him to know that fear is not a wall to stop you, it’s just a wall to climb, and I want to give him the footholds he needs to help him climb those walls.  That’s one of the things we do as parents.  We make life a little less scary for our kids, right?

 

So this week, we will be playing a lot of doctor. We will be practicing our “Ahhhhh” tongue depressing skills, and we’ll do pretend shots.  I never knew that I’d have to use every ounce of patience and creativity I can muster for something as simple as a doctor’s visit.  Sometimes, it seems like my patience has run too thin…but right about that moment, we have a breakthrough.  Suddenly, he can tie his shoes.  Suddenly, he doesn’t cry endlessly about a minor bump.  So while this was a tough experience for us both, I’m keeping in mind the victory we will share when we finally earn his trust.

ADHD vs. Hypervigilance

ADHD vs. Hypervigilance

It was a family movie night. James had been cuddled up on the couch opposite me for about an hour, intently watching the show.  Slowly, he rose from his place, gathered his blanket, and trudged over to me to climb up in my rarely empty lap.  He got himself settled, and we sat there for a few minutes together.  Then, I gave him a little squeeze.  When I did, I noticed something….his heart was racing.  Not just beating fast, but literally racing, and he had been sitting completely still for a few minutes.   The strange feeling that I had about his ADHD diagnosis started creeping into my mind once again.  But, I filed it away in my mental notebook so I could research this later.

It was several months before I realized why I had such a strange feeling about his ADHD diagnosis and medication. After researching and reading, I found out that while James certainly has some hyperactive tendencies, he isn’t truly ADHD, he’s hypervigilant.  And hypervigilance is completely different.

In her (outstanding) book, The Connected Child, Karyn Purvis outlines hypervigilance:

“We have encountered many harmed children who are not truly hyperactive; instead they are hypervigilant. This occurs when children were so traumatized by abusive and unpredictable caretakers or situations during their earlier lives that their primitive brain remains locked in a state of high alert, keeping them perpetually on guard.  The ‘fight or flight’ stress hormones continue to rage through their bodies and set these youngsters in motion, making them fidget endlessly, unable to sit still and focus on any single activity because they’re constantly scanning their surroundings for danger.”  P.51

Reading that made everything click for me. Dr. Purvis described my son perfectly.  When I researched it further, there was no mistaking…I didn’t have a child with ADHD, I had a hypervigilant child.  And the treatment for that is very different.  Once we realized what we were working with, we changed our approach.  Thankfully, we have the privilege of homeschooling James.  And that has made a huge difference.  Because of homeschooling, we were able to work with his medications without disrupting his school routine, and we have been able to address the root of the problem…security.

If you want to evaluate your children (or students) for hypervigilance, here are some of the symptoms:

  • Fidgeting, lack of focus on any task
  • Pupils are often either enlarged or unnaturally tiny, even during calm circumstances
  • Rapid heart rate even during quiet, still moments
  • A sense of aloofness, a defense mechanism so as not to get too close to anyone
  • Extreme sleepiness

 

Hypervigilance stems from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). And due to unsafe living situations, many of our children have it, yet it goes widely undiagnosed.  The problem is that medications that target ADHD don’t always work best for hypervigilance.  So it’s really important to distinguish the difference.  Here are some of the things we’ve done to help James:

  • Sleep: The first thing we noticed was that James lies awake in bed all through the night. He will lay there are stare until 2 or 3 AM, leaving him exhausted every day. I can always tell when he hasn’t gotten enough sleep because he gets big purple bags under his eyes. So, we spoke with his doctor and we started a blood pressure tablet that helped him to feel sleepy and relax at nighttime. Once we started that, I noticed that he was better able to focus during the day, so we were able to cut his ADHD medication in half.
  • Safety: Safety is tied with sleep in importance. Children with hypervigilance need to feel safe always. We made sure to tell James often that we are here to stay, that no one is going to come to our house and take him away. He is ours. Period. We give lots of hugs and kisses and we try to cuddle often to increase the feeling of safety. We also try to make sure to take care of his needs. If he is hungry, even if it’s right before dinner, I’ll allow him to have an orange or something small so he knows that there is food available.
  • Routine: Like most homes, our family has a natural routine. With homeschool, we also follow a daily routine. If there are any variances to our daily routine, I always begin the day by telling James the revised schedule. This also increases his feelings of safety and security.
  • Work with the need to fidget: Instead of fighting the fidgeting, I try to provide James opportunities to fidget. When we read, he gets to quietly play Legos. During math, he holds a pencil and twirls it. He tends to have some destructive fidgeting patterns (he likes to peel things), so I try to provide him an acceptable fidgeting tool. A rubber band (as long as he doesn’t shoot it), a small squishy ball, or a pencil to twirl are all acceptable for me.

 

Over the past year, we have seen major improvements in James. He now takes no ADHD medication, and he’s doing really well with his schoolwork.  There are most definitely hard days, but overall, he is succeeding!  And we are all so proud of him.  Having James has caused me to think about all the children who are diagnosed with ADHD, but really have hypervigilance.  I wish that there was more awareness about hypervigilance.  The treatment is somewhat different from ADHD, but it could make a world of difference for a child.  In addition to the above suggestions, here are some other ideas for working with hypervigilance:

  • Medication: I am by no means against ADHD medication, but for hypervigilance, it’s not always the best choice. After addressing sleep, talk with a doctor about the options. These may include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and hypertension medication. Communication with your doctor is key.
  • Weighted Blankets: Feeling secure is not natural to children with hypervigilance, so a weighted blanket can provide that secure feeling that they need and help them to better focus on their tasks.
  • Watch out for sensory overload: Children with hypervigilance can react badly to too much noise or even too much decoration and color in a room. Hypervigilant children benefit from home-like environments with subdued colors and décor.
  • Building Trust: Hugs or pats on the back can help build trust. Also, encouraging words make a big difference. James loves for me to sit beside him while he works. He doesn’t always need my help, but having me near him helps him feel safe and secure.
  • Speaking softly: Children with hypervigilance have very likely been yelled at often, so speaking softly and gently (but firm if needed) can help disarm the fight or flight response.
meerkat cuddles

Safety and security is the key to helping a hypervigilant child.

 

A little bit of further research will give you a few more ideas to implement. But we have seen such improvement in James since we realized the root of the problem.  It’s ongoing, but the success is so encouraging.  It is my prayer that parents and teachers can take this information and apply it accordingly.  Again, I am NOT against ADHD medication or even the diagnosis.  Some children really do have ADHD and need the medicine.  But maybe not all…let’s raise awareness and look at a child’s background and see if hypervigilance is something to be considered.

 

*I am not a doctor, a therapist, or anything with the ability to diagnose.  I am simply a mom who has done her research and wants to help others.  Please talk with a professional about any concerns you may have.

Speaking Truth to Our Children {plus an awesome giveaway}

Talk Now and Later Review

“Mom, have you ever lied to us?”

I paused for a long moment, a bit shocked by the question my oldest son had just asked me as we drove into town several weeks ago. My mind rapidly began flipping through mental files, still frames of memories flashing one after another, each one, a moment where I had a choice to lie. Finally, the slideshow going on in my head rested at one memory, about 7 years ago.

Isaac was two years old, and we were in the car, on one of our many long trips to see Tim at one of his military trainings. We had been chatting about Tim being a soldier, but his next question at the ripe age of two, caught me completely off guard.

“Momma, could Daddy get hurt in a war?”

My heart sank as I contemplated the answer to this tough question from my toddler who was barely old enough to speak the thought clearly. At that point, we knew about Tim’s upcoming deployment to Iraq, and I knew that my answer here mattered. While I wanted desperately to give the easy answer of, “No, of course not,” I knew that this was a defining moment of my motherhood. In that split second, I made the decision to always be truthful, no matter how hard the question. So, I took a deep breath and I said, “Yes. Daddy could get hurt in war. But you know, Isaac, we trust in God, and we believe that God is good all the time, whether things are good or bad. God will always take care of us, no matter what happens.” I braced myself for Isaac’s response, which I imagined would be either uncontrollable crying or the start of another chain of questioning that I wasn’t prepared for, but he only said, “OK,” and went back to his toy. Somehow, he was able to rest in the security of truth.

It was that conversation that partly shaped the way I parent. Since then, I’ve fielded many, many other questions from, “Why did ______ happen?” to “Why did my birth mother have to give me up?” So, when the question, “Mom, have you ever lied to us?” came, and I flipped through my mental filing cabinet, I was grateful to be able to say, “Isaac, if I have ever lied to any of you, I didn’t know it. I can’t think of a single instance where I haven’t told you the truth. I’ve always done my best to be 100% honest with you.” And his response was, “I didn’t think you had.” At that moment, I was incredibly thankful that years ago, God lead me to choose truth.

That’s why I really appreciated Brian Dollar’s book, Talk Now and Later. As a children’s pastor of a large church right here in my home state of Arkansas, Brian has years of experience in ministering to families. One of the principles that he is passionate about is parents talking to their children. And not only talking to them, but being proactive and intentional about it.

Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar Review

So many times, we tend to feel that children are “too young” or “not mature enough” to handle tough topics, but Brain reminds us that if your child isn’t talking to you about the tough topics, you can be sure they are talking to someone else, most likely their peers. And we all know how that can go! While Brian does emphasize that we should talk to our children in an age appropriate way, he also encourages us not to “dumb down” our answers and cautions us against believing that our children can’t grasp difficult concepts.

I was personally encouraged and challenged by Talk Now and Later because while I’ve always been open and truthful to my kids, I don’t know that I’m super proactive on certain subjects. I definitely tend to procrastinate. Brain’s knowledge not only encouraged me to be more proactive, but also equipped me with the right words to tackle the really sticky subjects like sex and death.

One of my favorite excerpts of Talk Now and Later is about how we tend to want to let children’s pastors and youth pastors take care of these subjects for us, but it’s really our job. It’s our job to lead our children spiritually. Here’s what Brian has to say about this:

We have hijacked the spiritual development of kids by promoting the idea that a “professional children’s minister” is the only qualified, competent person to speak spiritual truth into children’s lives. To some degree, we’ve developed a “savior complex” elevating our roles as the highest and best source of spiritual input for kids. Though we didn’t plan it, this perspective lowered parents to second-class status. Ultimately, we became a hindrance to God’s plan. Here’s the truth: God’s plan is for parents to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

I am so thankful that my son has felt comfortable enough with me to ask me tough questions, like “Have you ever lied to us Mom?” I think we are on a good path, but it’s a constant battle to keep the lines of communication open, especially as my boys approach their teenage years. I was so impressed by Brian’s book for that reason. It gives some truly wonderful tools for parents to utilize so that they can be proactive in prioritizing communication. I would very highly recommend Talk Now and Later to any parent who desires to improve in their communication with their children. It is so important.

You can check out Brian’s book on Amazon by clicking here. He also has an awesome Children’s Ministry blog where he writes with experience and wisdom. I would love for you to check it out by clicking HERE. I rarely hang on to books once I’ve read them, but this is one that I will keep handy and reference often.

Want your very own copy? Great, because today, I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of Brian Dollar’s book Talk Now and Later! Just click here to head to my Facebook page.  Then, click the “Giveaway” tab to grab up to 8 entries!  Giveaway closes on Sept. 8th.

Can’t wait to read it?  I understand!  Click here to get your hands on a “hot-off-the-press” copy of Talk Now and Later from Amazon!

So, I’d love to hear from you now! What’s the most difficult question your child has ever asked you?

Family Feature Friday: Caitlin Fitch

This is the first post of an exciting regular feature I’ll be doing here at Redeeming the Days Blog. On Fridays, I’ll be featuring a foster, adoptive, or support family. There are so many families who are following God’s calling in adoptive and foster care, and I am so thankful for them. I hope that these posts can be a bright light for all of us that the body of Christ is not only still there, but we are active in glorifying God in the area of orphan care.

Feature Family Friday:  Get a glimpse into the life of a real family fostering, Fridays at Redeeming the Days.

Feature Family Friday: Get a glimpse into the life of a real family fostering, Fridays at Redeeming the Days.

For my first post, I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to interview my good friend, Caitlin Fitch. I met Caitlin in our CALL training back in September of 2014. Of course, the first day, everyone is just kind of checking out everyone else…well…that’s what I was doing anyway. When I saw Caitlin, I was really confused. She was young, beautiful, and by herself. I didn’t know what she was doing there, but I knew that I wanted to find out. Over the course of the training, I realized that Caitlin was a single young lady there because she has a serious love for Jesus and a passion for hurting children. She was training to be a single foster parent.

Caitlin is one of those people who walks into a room and lights it up. Her humor and kindness is unmistakable. You know that it is Jesus shining through her. I am so excited to get to feature her journey today, and I hope that you will enjoy reading about this courageous young woman!

Feature Family Friday:  Get a real life glimpse into the life of a foster family...Fridays on Redeeming the Days.

Feature Family Friday: Get a real life glimpse into the life of a foster family…Fridays on Redeeming the Days.

Caitlin lives with her “fur baby” Tate in Central Arkansas. When I asked her if she was foster only, adopt only, or foster-to-adopt, she replied,

“Foster, completely willing to adopt. Despite the lies Satan tries to tell me…that no one will ever want to marry me if I adopt. All that is a load of bunk, God has a plan. A bigger plan. And I’m ready for it!”

{Can you see why I love this lady?}

  • When and why did you make the decision to foster?

“You know, I always knew adoption was in my future. I was raised in a home that had a huge heart for orphan care. Last March, I went to Peru on a mission trip and the Lord stirred my heart up all over again. When I got home, I asked the question ‘Why can I not do this? What do I have to wait on?’ and just clear as day, I heard God say, ‘When have I ever asked you to have all your stuff together before you follow me?’ and just like that I signed up for the informational meeting.”

  • How many placements have you had in your home so far?

“Two, a 3 year old boy from February 26th-March 17th, and two girls now from April 1st-current.”

  • What has been the hardest part about fostering? “I feel like that is such a hard question to answer. I would say the emotional toll and grieving you do on behalf of these kids has to be the hardest-everything from the losses in their life, the relationship between you and DHS and how much more you want people to care for your kid, the looks you get from people, all of it…it’s just hard emotionally.”
  • What has been the best/most rewarding part about fostering?
  • “I spent a week in the hospital at the beginning of July with my foster baby. During that week her sibling had to be away from me and stay with several different foster homes. The day my friend brought her home to me I watched out the window for her and when I saw her get out of the car, I opened the front door…she started running towards me…crying and screaming, ‘Mommy!! Mommy!! Mommy!!’ It was just too much for my heart to handle. Knowing I am something to this little bug is worth everything.”

When I asked Caitlin what advice she would give to others considering fostering or adoption, she had some great nuggets of truth. She said that when you are considering this big step, you have to identify and put aside every selfish thought. You have to put aside the fears of getting attached, loving them, and letting them go, and you have to listen to the tiny voice in your heart that says that it is all going to be okay. I think that is great advice. When you are thinking about adopting or fostering, there will be one million voices in your mind telling you NOT to do it. But the only voice that matters is God’s. What does HE want you to do? Do you trust HIM to take care of everything else?

Although single foster parenting might not be something that you’ve heard of before, it’s actually something that is very much needed. Many foster children enter the system due to abuse, most of the time, at the hands of a live-in male in the home. Because of single foster moms like Caitlin, these children are given time to heal and learn to trust again.

I have been watching Caitlin care for her “babies” now since February, and I’m so blessed by her heart. She has had a couple of stays in the hospital now with sick kiddos, and she treats them no differently than I treat mine. She stays by their side, worries about them, holds their little hands, kisses their cheek, and wipes their tears. And then, sometimes, she hands them back to Mom and Dad. And then, she trusts God in a whole different way.

This is the process that foster parents everywhere go through. It’s recklessly loving a child, investing all you have in them, crying for them and with them, and then sometimes, giving them up and trusting in God’s plan for them. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Would you join me in praying for Caitlin right now?

Father, I thank you so much for Caitlin.

Thank you for her heart, for her passion for hurting children.

Thank you for calling her to this incredible work.

Thank you for equipping her.

God, we ask that you give her patience, compassion, and strength for the days ahead multiplied exponentially to care for these sweet children.

We ask that you complete the work that you began in her. We ask that you hold her future in your hand, and we give you the praise and the glory for the fruit in her life. Thank you, Father.

In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

**This is the first in a regular series of Feature Family Friday posts. If your family fosters, has adopted, or offers support for orphan care in some way and you would like to tell your story, I want to help! Please e-mail me at deanadwood@yahoo.com **

To learn more about foster care or adoption in Arkansas, click on the links below:

The CALL
Project Zero

Quiet Time Journal Page for Kids {free printable}

A free printable to guide your child through their own individual quiet time.

A free printable to guide your child through their own individual quiet time.

For the past three years, my kids and I have met each morning in the living room for Bible Time. And we have loved every minute of it. Over the past three years, our time has grown from 10 minutes a day to an hour simply because we really do love it. This year, while I still plan to do a group Bible Time, I am going to be requiring my boys to do an individual Quiet Time for the first time. With the girls at school, there’s actually a good chance that the “quiet” part can actually happen this year!

I think that establishing a Quiet Time routine is an essential practice for the Christian life, so I’d love for my boys to get started early. I plan on easing into this, probably having a Quiet Time one day per week, and then growing it to a daily practice slowly as we go. I wanted my boys to have something to guide their time with the Lord, so I made this little printable for them, and I wanted to share it with you too.

The idea behind the printable is to forget about complete sentences and proper grammar, and just get the thoughts down, so I’d encourage you to go through the page with your child the first few times and model this. For reluctant writers, I would recommend one word phrases…just enough to recall their memory later. There’s also extra space on the page for artwork, doodling, and extra notes-all of which I feel are important for children (and us grown-ups too!).

I’m so glad to be able to share this printable with you! I’d love for you to share it with your friends as well. I’ll give you all an update on how our quiet time is going in a few weeks!

Just click on the link below for your very own copy!

Kids Quiet Time Journal Page pdf

Preserving Memories…the Easy Way

In the first few years of motherhood, I would look at all that “other mothers” were doing and feel completely inadequate. I didn’t scrapbook, which was all the rage when my oldest child was first born. I didn’t make grand displays of cute pictures all over my house, and I didn’t keep detailed, daily memory books. I know, I know…fail!

I admire the mothers that do these things for their children. They are giving their kids such a gift, but over the last nine years, I’ve lightened up on myself a lot, and I have realized that what works for other mothers isn’t necessarily what works for me and that’s ok! And in the process of mothering, I’ve found what works for me: simple things that don’t take much time or effort. The truth is that there are quite a few ways to document your children’s lives without taking a lot of time. And guess what? A few times, I’ve even cheated and gone back a few years to document things that I missed. So no worries if you are in a stage of life where you just can’t do these things for your kids. It will come back to you one day when you do have time to write it all down. Today, I wanted to share with you a few ideas to document your children’s lives that don’t take much time.

1. Social Media: Yeah, I know the stigma it’s getting, and I know all about over-sharing. You and your family have to decide how much you will share, but in my early days when I had multiple babies and little ones, I was so very thankful for social media. I could grab my phone, post something cute or funny that my kids did, and have it saved. That way, a few years down the road, when I have a little breathing room, I can actually write it down. By the way, I’m hanging out on Twitter now too-I’m so fancy! Look me up! @deanadwood

Preserving family memories doesn't have to be time consuming.  Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

Preserving family memories doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

2. Birthday Journals: I can’t write all the cute things and big accomplishments my kids have made each and every day, but I can take time one day per year, on their birthday, to write about their year. I keep a journal for each of my kids and every year on their birthday, I write about all the big things that happened, I scan through Facebook and write down all the cute stuff I want to remember, and I write about all their likes and dislikes.

Preserving family memories doesn't have to be time consuming.  Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

Preserving family memories doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

3. Jar of Memories: I’ve never done this, but I have a friend who does this every year, and I think it’s such a great idea. Keep a jar and a stack of blank slips of paper handy. When something memorable happens, write it down and stick it in the jar. At the end of the year, take the slips out and read all the memorable moments of the year together. If you’re really crafty, you could even make something artsy with all the slips of paper.

Preserving memories doesn't have to be time consuming.  Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

Preserving memories doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

4. Calendar Memories: I keep a planner and always have. These days it’s too full of stuff to do, but back when my calendar was less full, I would jot down memorable things that my kiddos said in the day boxes, just so I would remember it and look back at the end of the year.

Preserving family memories doesn't have to be time consuming.  Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

Preserving family memories doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are a few easy ways to keep memories alive.

5. Photo Books: It has been said that our generation takes the most pictures yet will have the least photographs. The problem is that we don’t have our photographs printed. Each year, I suggest making photo books. Services like Shutterfly and Groove Book are great services where you can easily unload all your Facebook or phone photos and have them made into a book. Groove Book is very reasonable in price too.

6. Blogs: My very first blog was just a place to document what was happening with Isaac. It grew from there, but at the heart of every blog post, has been my desire to leave a time capsule of my thoughts and my family at each particular stage in life. Blogs are easy to do, and you can even adjust the privacy settings so that they are just for you or just for you and those you give access to. Check out Blogger or WordPress to start your own. It takes about 15 minutes and you’ll have your first post up and running!

I don’t do all these things. I will tell you, I use social media, my blog, and birthday journals faithfully. If you are just starting out though, pick one thing that resonates with you, one thing that you think is doable. And if you are a mom with babies, I know that stage! It doesn’t last forever. Don’t worry if you don’t do all the neat things to document your kids’ lives. One day, you’ll have a chance to catch up. And you won’t forget everything! And in the meantime, talk about the sweet memories often, even if you have to tell them to your baby! Talking about those memories will keep them alive until you can get them on paper.

What are some things you do to preserve memories of your kids?